Beer Can Chicken

Learn how to make Beer Can Chicken on the grill. Also called Beer Butt Chicken, It’s guaranteed to be tender and juicy on the inside with a crispy, flavorful skin on the outside.

I want to share with you a favorite recipe of mine – Beer Can Chicken! It is a great summertime grilling staple, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do. It’s perfection, especially when served with some of our favorite summer side dishes, like Best Ever Classic Macaroni Salad and Grilled Zucchini.

A whole chicken cooking on the grill while sitting on top of a beer can.

Beer Can Chicken

Before I had ever attempted to make this recipe, I was always skeptical. Could the beer really make a difference when grilling a whole chicken? Well let me tell you it sure does!!! It keeps it moist and even though, in my opinion, you don’t actually taste the beer, you know it’s the key to this chicken being so scrumptious. Plus the can of beer helps the bird sit up right on your grill. I use this nifty wrack that holds the beer can and chicken so it doesn’t topple over, but it’s not necessary to have.

One of the best things about this recipe is that once it’s on the grill, you have a good amount of time to get all the other loose ends tied up before dinner is served. So that’s when I like to set the table, finish up any sides I’m making, and maybe fold a load of laundry! The less hectic it is getting dinner on the table, the better!

I like to keep the seasoning pretty simple on my version of the beer can chicken because it doesn’t need a lot of seasoning to help out with the flavor. But you can try any type of dry seasoning that makes your mouth water. Possibilities are endless! Now all that’s left to do is grill this recipe up yourself and enjoy!

A whole chicken sitting on top of a beer can on a grill

Does Beer Can Chicken Actually Work?

Beer can chicken requires beer in a can. The beer taste is minimal but it really does keep the chicken incredibly moist and juicy as it steams. The garlic in the beer definitely smells amazing and also adds flavor.

Wondering if beer can chicken is safe? Check out this article that talks about the BPA in the beer can.

What kind of beer should be used?

When choosing a beer for your beer butt chicken, think of flavors that are commonly used with the meat. Lemon and other citrus, or sour flavors pair well. Malty beers (low on hops) and wheat beers work well, and so do other fruity flavors.

The top of a chicken sitting on a beer can that's been cooked on the grill | beer can chicken

How to Make Beer Can Chicken (aka Beer Butt Chicken)

  1. You will want to start by pre-heating your outdoor grill to medium heat, about 375-400 degrees F.
  2. Dump or drink (totally your choice here) about a third of a can of beer (pick your favorite). There should be about 2/3 left in the can. Add a couple of garlic cloves to the beer in the can.
  3. Prepare the whole chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place it on top of the beer can by inserting the can into the cavity of the chicken. Rub the entire bird with olive oil, then rub salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder all over the skin. Place lemon wedges inside the neck of the chicken (it will stick out slightly).
  4. Place the beer can chicken on the grill, not directly over a flame. Cook for an hour and a half or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 165 degrees F.
  5. Carefully remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before removing beer can and carving.

Serving suggestions

You’ve got plenty of time to whip up some killer side dishes! Here are some of our favorites:

What to do with leftovers

Leftover chicken should be cooled completely before storing in an airtight container. Use leftovers for dishes that call for shredded chicken. Reheat in the microwave if needed, but this chicken is even delicious cold!

To freeze, wrap leftover beer can chicken tightly in plastic wrap then place in a freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 3-4 months.

A cast iron skillet with a whole chicken cut up into quarters, with parsley and lemon

You might also enjoy these chicken recipes:

For more chicken recipes, go HERE. For all dinner recipes go HERE and for all recipes go HERE.

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Social media image of whole chicken on a beer can on a grill

Beer Can Chicken

Learn how to make Beer Can Chicken on the grill. It's guaranteed to be tender and juicy on the inside with a crispy, flavorful skin on the outside.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 454kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds whole chicken
  • 12 ounce can of beer Your favorite
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Half a lemon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat, about 375-400 degrees F.
  • Dump or drink ⅓ of the bee,r leaving 2/3 of the beer remaining in the can. Add 2 garlic cloves to the beer.
  • In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
  • Pat the chicken dry and place it on top of the beer can by inserting it into the chickens cavity so that the bird is sitting upright.
  • Rub the entire bird with olive oil, then rub with dry seasoning mixture.
  • Place lemon wedge inside the top of the chicken sticking out slightly.
  • Place bird right side up on the grill NOT in direct flames. Cook for 1.5 hours or until thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165 degrees F. (*I like to rotate the chicken around halfway through the cooking time).
  • Remove from grill and let sit for 10 minutes before removing beer can and carving.

Nutrition

Calories: 454kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 31gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 409mgPotassium: 332mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 230IUVitamin C: 3.1mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 1.6mg

 

Beer can chicken pinterest friendly image

Beer Can Chicken - Use beer or soda for this moist and tender whole chicken dinner on the grill!

Beer Can Chicken- Great for summertime grilling! Moist grilled chicken that is easy to grill and will please everyone at dinnertime! Beer Can Chicken- Great for summertime grilling! Moist grilled chicken that is easy to grill and will please everyone at dinnertime!

Beer Can Chicken- Great for summertime grilling! Moist grilled chicken that is easy to grill and will please everyone at dinnertime!

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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